“Real Bedtime Stories,” Ensign, June 1982, 71
Real Bedtime Stories
My children like me to tell them stories before they go to sleep, so bedtime usually finds them all attention for one of dad’s nightly creations.
I’ve discovered that a story about almost anything will hold their interest once they’re in bed. So instead of retelling a familiar fairy tale or some other yarn, I tell them true stories about people they know and events I think are important.
By now they could probably recite experiences from every Scout camp I attended, every trip my wife and I have taken together, and how Grandpa Rust boated down the Green River. I’ve borrowed themes from almost every book I’ve read recently—stories about Jim Bridger and the Mormons, Abba Eban, and President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., to name a few. I may even tell them about things that happened at work that day just to bring events closer to home. The nice thing is that not only do they listen well, their memory of what they hear is amazing.
Naturally my storytelling is concentrated on our three younger children, but I sometimes notice that our twelve-year-old is listening too. My wife even chuckles out loud when I retell the story of our ward basketball team losing 64 to 18 in region playoffs, or describe what it was like when we fell in love.
The children love to hear true stories like these, and I’ve found it to be a good time to relate everyday events to the gospel and bear testimony of moral principles. Combining good fun with such teaching opportunities makes storytime some of the most precious time of the day—a chance to tell my children things I don’t want them to forget. Harold Rust, Springfield, Virginia